A '''clan''' is a group of people
united by actual or perceived kinship
. Even if lineage details are unknown, clan members may be organized around a founding member or apical ancestor
. The kinship-based bonds may be symbolic, whereby the clan shares a "stipulated" common ancestor that is a symbol of the clan's unity. When this "ancestor" is non-human, it is referred to as a totem
, which is frequently an animal.
The word clan is derived from the Gaelic ''clann''
[ meaning ''children or progeny'' but not ''family'' in the Irish language|Irish] and the Scottish Gaelic languages. According to the ''Oxford English Dictionary'', the word was introduced into English language|English in around 1425, as a label for the nature of the society of the Scottish Highlands...